We are pleased to announce a new publication in the LOT Dissertation Series by Hamed Rahmani.
Tone languages use tones to distinguish content words (‘lexical tones’) or morphological features (‘grammatical tones’). In many other languages, tones are a feature of prosodic domains like the foot, the phonological phrase, etc., and typically express discourse meanings (‘intonation’).
This dissertation presents two novel findings for Persian. First, what has generally been analyzed as ‘word stress’ is a High tone whose location is exclusively governed by syntax. This tonal morpheme distinguishes nominal constituents from verbal ones. Second, independently of this syntactic tone, Persian does in fact have metrical stress. Its iambic feet show up in non-tonal phenomena, including vowel harmony and vowel deletion. Data from production, word recognition and sequence-recall experiments support both conclusions. This study has significant implications for phoneticians, phonologists and syntacticians. From the perspective of prosodic typology, Persian presents a case of coexisting post-lexical tone and word-based metrical structure, whereby the two do not communicate with each other. Because of its unique reflection of syntactic configurations, the Persian tone is an effective probe into language structure.
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